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KAW
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Sheldon Wilson

Starring:
Sean Patrick Flanery
Stephen McHattie
Rod Taylor

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A small town becomes overrun with ravens, and not the good kind as these birds fly to kill. Only the townís sheriff, a redneck, a school bus full of kids, and some Mennonites stand in their way. Yes, the Mennonites. Oh, and it co-stars Rod Taylor from Hitchcockís film the Birds.
Is it good movie?
With a name like Kaw, itís obvious what type of film viewers are bound to get. Actually, naming a movie Kaw seems a little strange when first thinking of it. Itís like naming a movie about bats Screech, or something about lions named Roar. Ridiculous. However, Kaw somehow works. It sounds menacing and speaks to the B nature of the film. B, of course, isnít a bad thing as all film geeks know, and a lot of this movie isnít B as the acting doesnít come across as cheesy and at times seems dramatic. The killer ravens, however, well, they might as well be hunting cheese. Hold on though; let me back up.

Kaw is a Birds rip-off thatís a little gorier than the Hitchcock film, but thatís not saying much. If one will recall, most of violence in Hitchcockís movie were scratches and screams, not much more. Surprisingly, Kaw doesnít go too much further. Itís mildly amusing that a 2007 film doesnít look all that much better than the 1963 classic. A lot of blatant green screen and CGI shows up in this version, which isnít a bad thing as long as viewers donít constantly think of how CGI the flying or attacking birds looked. 

Several scenes exist where I couldnít help but visualize the actors running through a cornfield with the director screaming to them, ďJust imagine massive, frightening raven above. And theyíre really, really mad.Ē Thatís not something a director wants. At the same time, some scenes do work. I like watching the wave of ravens approaching in the distance. I like how they pick apart their victims, ripping away flesh. However, I think some extra gore would have added the extra layer it needed. Things get a little bloody (mainly some brain plucking, a dog gets it, and a lot of bird scratches), but not to the level Iíd expect from a B horror picture. No eye gougings? No tongue removals? No ears rippings?

I found Kaw an entertaining, well-acted, and sometimes surprising film. Never once did my attention wander. The film always captured small town life effectively. Some of the characters - including Sean Patrick Flanery as the sheriff, Taylor as the Doc, and Stephen McHattie as Clyde the bus driver - were convincing and at times, truly seemed troubled. Now Iím not talking Oscar worthy here, but for a cheap horror film about killer ravens picking off people one at a time, Iíd say thatís a compliment. Theyíre capable actors who bought into their roles and did their best to add at least an inch of depth into their characters.

And speaking of depth, Iíd like to discuss the ending of the film as it actually does add meaning to all the madness. And while I wonít spoil it, Iíll just say things somehow made sense. It makes Kaw seem somehow realistic, and all the more frightening. While I enjoyed the characters and the overall plot, I needed more blood, which makes me sound like a savage, but thatís what horror remains here for. To bring out savage desires.

Video / Audio
Video: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Audio: 5.1 Digital Surround
The Extras
The Making of Kaw: 23 minute look at, you guessed it, the making of the feature. A lot of interviews with the cast and a lot of clips from the film, which I find annoying if it relays on it too much. I did enjoy the discussion of the real ravens. Creepy.

Interview with Rod Taylor: Director Sheldon Wilson interviews the film star in an interesting look back at his career. Itís good, but if you donít know who Taylor is, it might be hard to stick with.
Last Call
I smell franchise. If they amp up the gore, keep the reason behind the ravenís attack (again, wonít spoil), and maybe add in the Amish, then weíve got a sequel.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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